Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, says he has every intention of voting to repeal Obamacare with a new GOP majority in January, but also said people should be realistic about what to expect in the way of repeal with President Obama still in the White House.
“We certainly will have a vote on proceeding to a bill to repeal Obamacare. … It was a very large issue in the campaign,” Mr. McConnell told Roll Call. “We’re certainly gonna keep our commitment to the American people to make every effort we can to repeal it.
“It is a statement to the obvious, however, that Obama — of Obamacare — is the president of the United States, so I don’t want people to have [unrealistic] expectations about what may actually become law with Obama — of Obamacare — in the White House,” he said. “But we intend to keep our commitment to the American people.”
Mr. McConnell has also pledged to avoid a repeat of last fall, when conservative efforts to defund Obamacare helped trigger a partial shutdown of the federal government. He said they’re reviewing what would be possible under the budget reconciliation process, which only requires a simple majority to win passage for a measure, rather than the typical 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster on most pieces of legislation.
The law is still deeply unpopular with the conservative base, which has been busy applying pressure to Mr. McConnell on repeal. But more immediately, conservatives are also channeling their energy to try to get Republicans on Capitol Hill to use the power of the purse to block President Obama’s recently-announced executive actions on immigration.
As for health care, Mr. McConnell pointed out pieces of the law do have bipartisan opposition, including a tax on medical devices.
“And 79 senators, including that great conservative Elizabeth Warren, said they didn’t like the medical device tax, so we will go at that law — which in my view is the single worst piece of legislation passed in the last half century — in every way that we can,” he said.